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Samsung Ace: Hands-on and first impressions

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How come nobody told me about the Dallas airport?

ace

I’ve been playing with the new Samsung Ace from Sprint for a few days and have some initial thoughts along with some photos of the device. Full review coming soon.

As far as using the phone on a day-to-day basis, I like it. The size is good. It’s longer than the Motorola Q but a little bit thinner width-wise and a little bit lighter. The lightness, in fact, is surprising at first — a nice surprise, to be sure. It fits easily in a pocket, so it travels well.

size

thickness

I’ve sworn off touchscreens for good. My last month of so with the HTC Touch (pictured above) has been an exercise in frustration. I like how tiny it is but it wasn’t worth the trade-off in that I don’t like using a stylus and I don’t like trying to type without a real-life tactile keyboard. Call me old-fashioned but I’m just not feeling the whole touchscreen thing. Some people love it, some people don’t. To each his own. Going back to a smartphone with a non-touchscreen has been refreshing for me. 

If you’ve used the Samsung BlackJack phones, you’re basically getting the same thing with the Ace except for slightly different — and better — button placement, keyboard, and 5-way directional switch.

The keys look tiny but I’ve found them surprisingly easy to type with. I thought the cramped-looking keyboard would be my biggest gripe but it’s turned out to be my favorite feature. The big Call Send and Call End buttons are nice touches, too.

Battery life seems a bit short but I still need to give it some more thorough testing. Samsung rates the talk-time at just over four hours but I’m more interested in how often I’ll need to recharge it with normal, everyday use. I don’t make too many calls but I use a fair amount of data services so we’ll see how long everything lasts.

The charging and USB cables that come with the Ace are proprietary, which agitates me because it means I’ll have to carry more cables now. I like phones that use a mini-USB cable for everything and I’m pretty sure that Samsung could have done without the proprietary connection.

ace2

The Ace can be used as a world phone, although data speeds abroad are relegated to GSM only. Using Sprint’s EVDO network here in the states has been zippy, although the phone uses Sprint’s Rev 0 protocol instead of the newer, faster Rev A.

Windows Mobile 6 has been an underwhelming experience over Windows Mobile 5 but I’m still playing around with it so I’m sure I’ll find some surprises here and there. The phone doesn’t have any GPS features, unfortunately, so I guess I’ll just stay inside my house all day so I don’t get lost. As I mentioned before, I’ll have a full review up soon.

Any questions in the meantime, please let me know.

Samsung Ace (SPH-i325) [Samsung.com]

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